Ireland ranked worst country in Europe for action on climate change

ANI | Updated: Nov 16, 2017 16:03 IST

London [UK], Nov 16 (ANI): According to the 2018 Climate Change Performance Index, Ireland is the worst performing country in Europe in terms of taking concrete action to tackle climate change.

The report, issued by Germanwatch and the NewClimate Institute, puts Ireland in 49th place - a drop of 28 places from last year - out of a total of 56 countries identified in the Index, reports The Independent.

The highly regarded annual Performance Index ranks countries based on emissions levels, renewable energy take-up, energy use and climate policy, with Ireland performing poorly across all sections.

"According to national experts, Ireland is one of the few EU countries to miss its 2020 emission reduction targets under the EU effort-sharing decision, which is one reason why the country rates very low in climate policy," it said.

"Its performance in the field of greenhouse gas emissions is also very low," it added, and is "nowhere close" to helping keep average global temperature rises below 2C, as required under the Paris Climate Accord.

"We observe a very positive trend in the development of renewable energy, but as the current share of renewable energy in energy supply - as well as the 2030 targets - are insufficient, Ireland rates only medium in the renewables category," it said.

The top three spots are unfilled as, according to the report, no country has taken adequate action to prevent climate change.

Sweden leads the way in terms of its commitment to tackling climate change, according to the index. It is followed by Lithuania, Morocco, Norway, and the UK.

"Extreme air pollution events (in Europe or Ireland) are driven by burning of solid residential fuel (namely, peat, wood and biomass) and even though less than four per cent solid fuel is consumed, this accounts disproportionately for 70 per cent of the pollution," Irish Times had quoted Professor Colin O'Dowd, director of NUIG's Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies as saying.

He added: "The major concern is that these fuels are promoted as being 'green' or 'low-carbon' in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, but are devastating in terms of air pollution... and their consumption is predicted to increase significantly, thus turning back the clock in terms of clean air policy in the developed world."

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten T.D., in March, had launched a public consultation on Ireland's first National Clean Air Strategy, 'Cleaning our Air', "which will provide the framework for whole-of-government policies and drive actions to reduce harmful emissions from a range of sources, and clean our air". (ANI)